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Cross Plains Public Library (TX)

Oral History Project

Submitted by Charles A. Rodenberger

In 2001 the Cross Plains Library Board of Directors realized that many local residents who had the history of this area stored in their memories were growing older and that their stories needed to be archived as oral histories.  A plan was devised to record oral conversations and store them on CDs of archival quality, create written transcripts and make the files available to the public.

Jack Scott, known for his speeches at the Robert E. Howard Days and his encyclopedic knowledge of the area from his vantage point as a newspaperman and long time mayor, graciously agreed to launch the project.  His interview revealed fascinating items of interest about the growth and development of this area.  Since that time, volunteers have interviewed and compiled the oral histories of Jack Scott, John P. Kilgore, Zora Mae Bryant, Lois Garrett, Leo Thompson, Ike Neal, Troy Crockett, Richard Purvis and Chuck Woody. 

Folks who have given of their time to conduct interviews including Charles Rodenberger, Wallace Bennett, Mary Ann Chaffin, Sharon Pope, Bob Childress, and Judy Luter. 

The Oral History group has a list of potential interviewees with a story to tell and are looking for people to help record the stories.  If you like to visit with “old timers” while you share a cup of coffee, this is a wonderful opportunity.  You will not only experience the pleasure of the moment, you’ll be helping preserve our past for future generations to enjoy.  We have a recorder that can be used.  Call us today at (254) 725-7722 to check out the project.

February, 2006: the Oral History class at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and their instructor, "Tumbleweed" Smith, arrive in Cross Plains to begin their semester long class project - to record the story of the fire via interviews with many, many people - all with a different story to tell.

We also have a CD of The Ring of Fire at the library, recording the events of the 2005 wildfire in Cross Plains.